The Department of Health is consulting on whether to decriminalise dispensing errors made by pharmacists. The position of pharmacists being guilty of a crime for a deliberate act would remain. This issue has long been a concern for members of the pharmacy profession.

Paul Gershlick, Head of Life Sciences & Healthcare at Matthew Arnold & Baldwin LLP, has welcomed the move. He said: “No one doubts the important job that pharmacists do and that there should be high standards, given that they are administering products that could do a lot of harm if they get something wrong. But to impose a criminal standard for making a simple error goes too far, and puts a standard on the pharmacy profession that is not faced by others such as doctors. This consultation is not before time.”

The consultation is open until 14 May and can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/403387/consultation_doc.pdf.

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